Chicago Cubs: Rafael Dolis
Dolis appeared in five games for Chicago this season, throwing five innings without giving up a run. Parker, 27, pitched in seven games last season for the Cubs, giving up three earned runs in six innings. In 16 appearances for Iowa this season he was 0-1 with a 2.04 ERA and seven saves. He was one of the last cut-downs near the end of spring training.
To make room for Parker on the Cubs' 40-man roster the team designated reliever Alex Burnett for assignment. Burnett was picked up off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles at the beginning of the week.
The Cubs play the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night at Wrigley Field. Parker will be in uniform for the game.
"I guess it's been bothering him for about a month," manager Dale Sveum said before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night. "He got treatment on Sunday to start the process, re-aggravated it and the inflammation got too bad. It was getting tough to push off the mound."
Sveum said the Cubs would have considered putting him on the disabled list before designating reliever Michael Bowden for assignment in order to activate Matt Garza from the disabled list. But the team didn't know the seriousness of the problem until it was too late.
"He came for treatment and we didn't know it was that extensive," Sveum said. "But that would have been the obvious move."
Bowden has to clear waivers before he can be reassigned. The Cubs recalled pitcher Rafael Dolis from Triple-A Iowa to take Camp's place. Camp gave up a grand slam to pinch-hitter Travis Snider in the Cubs' 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
He appeared in 20 games with a 7.56 ERA after leading the league in appearances last season with 80. Sveum was asked if the injury could be a reason for his struggles this season.
"When you can't push off and it's that painful, you're going to lose something in your legs," Sveum said. "We have to get it calmed down."
Dolis has appeared in two games this season for the Cubs, pitching a scoreless 1 2/3 innings.
Camp elected to go back to Chicago to rest his toe while the Cubs continue on their road trip.
To make room for the recalls, outfielder Dave Sappelt was optioned to Iowa while pitcher Kameron Loe was designated for assignment. Sweeney takes Loe's spot on the 40-man roster.
Sappelt was the primary starting center fielder against left-handed pitchers but hit only .178 in 20 games and 45 at-bats. Loe had a 5.40 ERA in seven games with the Cubs after being picked up off waivers.
Sweeney was also picked up off waivers after being cut by the Boston Red Sox at the end of spring training. He was hitting .337 for Triple-A Iowa. This is Dolis' second stint with the Cubs this season.
Also agreeing to terms were pitchers Michael Bowden, Brook Raley, Chris Rusin, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Trey McNutt, Hector Rondon, Arodys Vizcaino and Robert Whitenack, catcher Steve Clevenger, infielders Junior Lake, Christian Villanueva, Josh Vitters and Logan Watkins as well as outfielders Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt and Matt Szczur.
There were no surprises as the Chicago Cubs' bullpen was expected to be a weakness and it became a major contributor to the slow start that railroaded the season.
Make no mistake, the 2012 Cubs were going to struggle regardless, but the poor outings from the relievers in April sealed that fate.
It certainly wasn't going to be easy after the bullpen lost Sean Marshall and Andrew Cashner to trades, while Jeff Samardzija moved into a rotation spot. There were no significant additions, unless you count Shawn Camp's signing at the end of spring training.
Still, the group's highlight moment came May 18 when Kerry Wood struck out the White Sox's Dayan Viciedo on three pitches and walked off into retirement.
Wood finished his career with an 86-75 record and a 3.67 ERA. As a reliever, he was 15-20 with a 3.59 ERA and 63 saves. But in 2012, he struggled to an 0-2 record and an 8.31 ERA in 10 appearances.
Wood's struggles and subsequent retirement were indicative of a nagging shoulder injury that forced him to the disabled list in April. The rest of the bullpen didn't have a similar excuse, especially early in the season.
Manager Dale Sveum has said he wants to field competitive teams, especially when facing contenders down the stretch, but circumstances guided his hand in this one.
Chris Rusin, in just his second big-league start, gave up five runs on eight hits while only recording three outs. With the game out of reach early, Sveum went with his designated innings eaters over proven relievers.
Rusin and three others, pitchers Jaye Chapman and Rafael Dolis and catcher Anthony Recker, will be added to Chicago's roster on Tuesday.
Rusin pitched against the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 21, taking a loss despite allowing just one run on one hit in five innings. He struck out four and walked two in the 5-2 loss.
Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.
CHICAGO – Tony Campana is expected to be recalled when rosters expand a week from Sunday, but moves might be limited.
“Most of them are here anyway,” manager Dale Sveum said. “There are some guys who are coming back from injuries that we still want to take looks at as well.”
That would suggest that left-handed reliever Blake Parker is a candidate to be called up. Other pitchers that could be on their way back to Chicago are Jeff Beliveau, Scott Maine and, of course, Chris Rusin. There is also right-hander Miguel Socolovich, whom the Cubs claimed off waivers from the Orioles on Friday.
And then there is the question of whether or not the Cubs would be willing to bring up shortstop Junior Lake from Double-A Tennessee. Sveum has mentioned him in passing so his name will clearly be discussed.
It doesn’t seem as if the Cubs will be bringing everybody form the above list, though.
“The way the roster is and everything I don’t know how many we will (call up),” Sveum said. “I don’t think it will be an overwhelming amount, but just enough to help us in September to where we can do things roster-wise during a game and pinch hit three or four pitchers to help out and all that stuff. We’re not going to bring 15 guys up or anything like that.”
Over the previous nine games, the Cubs relievers had only given up four combined runs and the bullpen had been a major player in the team’s resurgence of late.
It all started innocently enough with an infield single from David Freese. James Russell came on to relieve Justin Germano and the rout was on. Russell gave up six runs on four hits and two walks, Manny Corpas gave up four runs without getting an out and Rafael Dolis gave up a pair of run-scoring doubles.
“You look at their lineup and you don’t see anything that extreme but that’s a tough lineup to get through with the switch hitters and the quality hitters they have,” manager Dale Sveum said. “That’s why five doubles were down the right-field line, two doubles were down the left-field line and [Lance] Berkman added another double late. That’s quality hitters that take that stuff away and they did a great job."
It actually wasn’t that long ago that the Cubs gave up a dozen runs in an inning. It happened July 30, 2010 at Colorado. The Cardinals tied a club record with their 12 runs in an inning, matching a franchise mark first set in 1926. The seven doubles in an inning tied a major league record set by the Boston Bees in 1936.
The six runs allowed by Russell were a career high. He had only given up 12 earned runs all season before the outing.
Going back to the start of 2011, Russell’s 2.31 ERA entering play Saturday was the second best ERA from a National league lefty reliever, behind the 1.57 mark from the Braves’ Eric O'Flaherty. In one night, Russell’s 2012 ERA went from 2.45 to 3.63.
“Russell has gone four months basically without a hiccup like that,” Sveum said. “Those things can happen. Unfortunately it was in a 0-0 game and it started out on an infield dribbler. We got an out on a bunt and after that we all witnessed some good hitting too.”
Right-handers Rafael Dolis and Jairo Ascencio both pitched in a simulated game before batting practice Tuesday after not appearing in a regular game in over a week.
Asencio last pitched July 3 at Atlanta when he gave up a run in 2 2/3 innings. Dolis’ last game was also on July 3 when he went just a third of an inning. The last time he went as long as an inning was June 27 at home against the New York Mets.
“It wasn’t a lot (and) they will be able to throw (in Tuesday’s game),” manager Dale Sveum said. “They just needed to get up there against hitters and get on the mound with not having been out there in quite a while.
Marmol, who went on the DL with a right hamstring strain on May 12, finished a rehab assignment at Iowa on Sunday with one scoreless inning, walking one batter while striking out three.
“I feel great and I’m ready to pitch,” Marmol said. “I was able to find my arm slot again where I can get my slider back to breaking the right way.”
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Dolis, who got the closer job after Carlos Marmol was removed from the role, was well within reach of the team’s single-season record for saves by a rookie.
Despite the Cubs not having a save opportunity for nearly a two weeks as they slogged their way through an 11-game losing streak, Dolis had four saves in his new role. According to STATS, the Cubs’ rookie record of 10 saves was set by Oscar Zamora in 1974 and matched by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter in 1976.
Now, though, comes the news out of Pittsburgh that manager Dale Sveum will look elsewhere for upcoming save opportunities. Sveum told media members that Dolis’ inability to throw strikes is unacceptable.
He not only walked two batters in the ninth inning of a tie game Saturday night against the Pirates, but he then hit a batter with the bases loaded to bring home the game-ending run. He was brought in Sunday in the middle innings and proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced. Eight of his nine pitches were balls, including the first six.
A demotion to the minor leagues wouldn’t be out of the question after what Dolis showed the last two days in Pittsburgh.
Since recording a save against the Atlanta Braves on May 9 by retiring all three batters he faced, Dolis has been far less efficient. He has a combined nine walks over his next seven outings, including a pair of walks in each of his last three outings.
Ten of the 16 earned runs Dolis has allowed this season have also come over those last seven outings. His other six earned runs came over his first 17 outings.
There was no indication who would take over the closer role now or if Sveum would use a closer-by-committee setup. If Sveum went to just one pitcher for the role, the most obvious choice would be James Russell, who has a 1.74 ERA over 20 2/3 innings.
Russell hasn’t given up a run in any of his last nine outings and has held the opponent scoreless in 19 of his 22 appearances this season.
Carlos Marmol is close to returning to the roster after a stint on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury, but he is not expected to be handed the closer job when he is back.
With left-hander James Russell and right-hander Rafael Dolis to choose from when a victory is on the line, manager Dale Sveum said he might make his decision long before the moment of truth arrives.
For this weekend’s series against the Milwaukee Brewers, for instance, Sveum has already informed Dolis that he will be the closer if the opportunity arises and Russell will be used in a set-up capacity.
“It’s probably going to be Dolis just because they don’t have the [Joey] Vottos, the [Jay] Bruces, the [Brian] McCanns, guys lined up that way,” Sveum said about above-average left-handed hitters around the National League. “We’ll probably use [Russell] in more of a situational seventh or eighth inning depending on what’s going on to keep the left-hander on the bench.”
Since Carlos Marmol was removed from the closer role last Friday, Dolis has two saves and a victory in three outings. Russell has two holds over that time and has given up just one run in 4 2/3 innings (four appearances).
“I’ll let them know during batting practice,” Sveum said. “I’ll say ‘It’s not cut and dry but a pretty good chance tonight you’ll be closing the game.’ ”